The city and state have launched a joint task force that will crack down on “ghost cars” with fake or defaced license plates, Mayor Eric Adams and Gov. Kathy Hochul said Tuesday.

The new task force, comprised of agencies including the NYPD, the New York State Police, the Port Authority Police Department and the MTA Police, will target drivers with plates that make it difficult for traffic cameras and toll readers to trace them, the two politicians said in a news release. 

Some drivers have been buying fake or paper license plates online in an effort to avoid paying tolls and tickets, while others have been using them to avoid arrest, Adams said at a news conference.

“Ghost vehicles, ghost cars, ghost dirt bikes, they are not only a menace to our roadways. We are finding that they are participating in very violent and dangerous crimes. They leave the scenes of criminality. You don’t know who they are. They disappear in the night,” the mayor said. “So this initiative is a proactive way of catching them before they do something dangerous.”

The task force seized 73 cars, issued 282 summonses and arrested eight drivers as part of its first enforcement operation at the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, the George Washington Bridge and the Lincoln Tunnel on Monday, by observing vehicles and using license plate reader technology, according to the release.

Vehicles with illegal license plates are often “unregistered, uninsured or stolen,” the release said.

Hochul proposed legislation that includes additional penalties for toll theft and bans selling or distributing covers that obscure license plates as part of her state budget earlier this year.

“We have the technology. We have everything we need in place, to go after these ghost cars, ghost vehicles,” the governor said at Tuesday’s news conference. “We’re going after the ghost vehicles, because we’re sick and tired of people taking advantage, and everybody else feels like a sucker because they’re the ones paying the tolls like law-abiding citizens.”

“As the mayor mentioned, many of these vehicles are involved in other crimes,” she added.

The NYPD’s Transportation Bureau set up the task force “with the mission of conducting eight-hour enforcement operations approximately once a month,” the release said.

“Times and locations around the city will be chosen after analyzing toll and motor vehicle data,” it added.